Photo of the Day

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for June 19 

June 20, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

Golden hour often gets all the attention — but after the sun goes down, there’s still some creative portrait opportunities to be had. Portraits after sunset come with a set of challenges, including a slower or even non-functional autofocus, setting up off-camera lights, and limited sight. But, when done right, portraits taken after sunset can have a magic all their own. This week, we feature five photographs taken after sunset, from blue hour to to even the Aurora. Find inspiration after dark in these images from Jamie LeMarie, Anna Ascari, Kelly Munce, Kelly Shoul, Alex White, and Jim Huang. 

Jamie LeMarie, Jamie LeMarie Photography 

© Jamie LeMarie

When Jamie LeMarie of Jamie LeMarie Photography saw that the light from the couple’s lanterns reflected in the pool of ocean water as they climbed the rocks, she knew she had to take this photo. The glow from the lanterns, fog and limited light creates a moody photo that draws the eye to the bride and groom. LeMarie took the photo with the Canon EOS R6 and a 24mm lens. 

“My biggest challenge taking portraits after sunset is time,” she said. “I feel like I never have enough of it! There are so many creative ideas I have for shooting after sunset, and it’s so hard to make sure I capture them all during that blue hour.” 

Anna Ascari, Hakuna Matata Weddings 

© Anna Ascari

Inspired by the surrounding landscape, Anna Ascari of Hakuna Matata Weddings wanted to place the couple so the setting sun highlighted them within the scene. Her vantage point was also too far from the couple for them to hear her, so she had to mime what she wanted them to do. She took the image with the Sony a7R III and the 24-70mm f2.8 GM. 

“The inspiration behind this shot was the breathtaking view we were surrounded with,” she said. “I wanted the couple to stand out of the landscape in order to have them framed perfectly in the middle of that stunning rock. The most difficult challenge was to actually reach the point. It wasn’t unsafe, of course. Otherwise, I would have never asked the couple to go there, but it was far away from the point we initially were.” 

Kelly Munce, Kelly Munce Photography 

© Kelly Munce

Pet and family portrait artist Kelly Munce of Kelly Munce Photography was told that the dogs owned by the owner of the local dog shop were hyperactive and hard to photograph — but she didn’t let that challenge stop her. Inspired to capture something outside the norm, she framed this pet portrait on a lake close to the shop. She used a Canon R6 II, the RF 16mm f2.8 STM lens and a Godox AD200 Pro with a Neewer octagonal softbox. She composited the shot of the dog and the shot of the night sky together, as the dog couldn’t hold still for the longer exposure time the stars required. 

“The biggest challenge is getting the dog to be focused on you and not the other 520 dogs walking past, or watching,” she said. “Secondly, is making sure the lead is well out of the way so it’s easy to remove in post. Thirdly, being a composite image, you need to make sure the photos flow together and not look like they don’t belong together.” 

Kelly Shoul and Alex White, In Love and Adventure 

© Kelly Shoul and Alex White

Kelly Shoul and Alex White of In Love and Adventure captured this Milky Way portrait on the morning of the couple’s engagement shoot. Shoul said that hiking in the dark and cold and working around Mother Nature is always a challenge when trying to capture night portraits with the stars. The photo was taken on the Canon R6 with the 24mm f1.4 L II USM lens and a Lume Cube light. 

“We knew that we wanted to capture the couple with the stars and the reflection on the lake, but the inspiration really came to us when we saw the couple naturally standing, holding each other and taking in the starry view,” Shoul said. “So much of our inspiration comes from our couples and the way they interact naturally, as well as what unfolds and how it inspires us.” 

Jim Huang, Zhuoya Photography 

© Jim Huang

The interpretation of what romance is inspired Jim Huang of Zhuoya Photography to take this shot — and the couple lucked out that the aurora made an appearance that night. He captured the image using the Nikon Z6 II and the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens. A warm LED light was used as the key light and a cooler LED was used as the fill light. 

Huang said the biggest challenge with this shot was being quick. “There aren’t many challenges on the technical and posing side as we are pretty good in that department,” he said. “However, we do have to be quick and efficient with our time and make each shot count. It is generally very cold for the clients to make photos like these during the winter night in New Zealand.” 

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to: